tv The News Hour With Jim Lehrer PBS October 28, 2009 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT
>> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. on the "newshour" this wednesday: the lead story: deadly attacks in afghanistan and pakistan, gwen ifill talks to margaret warner in islamabad. then, after the other news of the day, two views of a new government proposal for handling financial firms considered too big to fail. fred de sam lazaro reports on improving the lives of the people and the health of the rainforest in borneo. >> so you can pay with baskets and woven mats. you can pay with labor. you can pay with seedlings that we use for reforestation or seeds. >> lehrer: and jeffrey brown profiles a piano playing pop star. >> what was exciting about this to me was the idea that we would arrange my music in a way to where that made the orchestra the rock band. major funding for the newshour with jim lehrer is provided by:
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>> and by wells fargo advisors. together, we'll go far. >> and by bnsf railway. and the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> lehrer: militants struck today in major cities across afghanistan and pakistan. in the afghan capital, an assault on a u.n. guest house killed 11 people.
and a car bombing in pakistan killed more than 100 people, and wounded more than 200 as u.s. secretary of state clinton arrived in the country. gwen ifill begins our lead story coverage. >> ifill: the attack on u.n. workers in afghanistan began near dawn in kabul. police finally got the upper hand two hours later. taliban fighters in police uniforms and suicide vests stormed the bakhtar guest house. the fighting touched off a fire that sent smoke billowing high over the city and forced people to jump from roof to roof to escape. >> ( translated ): the gun fire hit the door and then the attackers got inside the guest house. the guards were on the roof. foreign guests inside were crying out for help, but we could not help them. there were a lot of shooting, some were killed and injured. >> ifill: the dead included five u.n. staffers, one an american. at least 25 u.n. workers were
staying at the guest house, preparing for afghanistan's presidential runoff election, on november 7. in new york, u.n. secretary general ban ki moon called the attack a "shocking and senseless act," but he said the u.n. will not be deterred. >> the united nations is committed to doing all it can to support the afghan people as they once again cast their ballots and shape the destiny of their country. >> ifill: the taliban warned the strike at the u.n. was just a start. militants also fired rockets today at the afghan presidential palace and at kabul's main luxury hotel. there were no casualties reported. but the violence echoed all the way to washington, where president obama is mulling whether to send more troops to afghanistan. white house press secretary robert gibbs. >> i don't doubt that there are going to be members of the taliban or violent extremists that seek to disrupt the will of
the afghan people, that's not going to be successful. the afghan people are going to decide who their next government will be run by and we're confident in that. >> ifill: gibbs would not answer questions about a "new york times" report that ahmed wali karzai-- brother of the afghan president-- has been working with the c.i.a. the story said he received regular payments from the agency for much of the past eight years, partly to recruit a paramilitary force. ahmed karzai is also believed to be heavily involved in the afghan drug trade. he dismissed the times report as "absolutely ridiculous." across the border in pakistan today, the day's bloodshed left hundreds dead and wounded in peshawar-- mostly women and children. a car loaded with 300 pounds of explosives detonated in the middle of a busy market, collapsing buildings and setting the city's old quarter ablaze. >> ( translated ): ten minutes
before i was inside my shop, and then the blast went off. everybody ran towards the scene, to see it closely, and we saw everything destroyed there. >> ifill: firefighters struggled to douse flames, and onlookers struggled to pull survivors from the rubble. it was the deadliest in a string of bombings and assassinations in recent weeks. it came as secretary of state hillary clinton arrived three hours away in the capital islamabad. she said the fight is not pakistan's alone. >> these extremists are committed to destroying that which is dear to us, as much as they are committed to destroying that which is dear to you, and to all people. so this is our struggle as well, and we commend the pakistani military for their courageous fight, and we commit to stand shoulder to shoulder with the pakistani people in your fight for peace and security. we will give you the help that
you need, in order to achieve your goal. >> ifill: pakistan's foreign minister said it was a heinous attack, but he insisted, "we will not buckle." >> you think that by attacking innocent people and lives, you will shake our determination? no sir, you will not. we will be more determined to fight you and defeat you for our own reasons. because we have a vision for pakistan and that vision does not fall in line with what you stand for. >> ifill: peshawar is just miles from the mountainous border region with afghanistan, where pakistan has sent 30,000 troops to flush out taliban and al qaeda militants. pakistani officials said today's bombing came in retaliation for that ongoing campaign. margaret warner is traveling in pakistan with secretary clinton. i spoke with her earlier today. margaret, it's good to see you. you begin your visit to pakistan with secretary clinton with the
news today that about 100 people were killed in northwest pakistan today in these latest car bombings. has it cast a pall of any kind over the secretary's visit? sglerk secretary clinton and the foreign minister were in a meeting in the foreign ministry when the news hit, and we were clustered with pakistani journalists waiting for them to come out and talk to us. certainly, suddenly, the headlines on television went from hillary clinton's arrival in pakistan to the news of this horrific bombing and horrible, horrible-- just wall-to-wall pictures of it. they came out of that meeting and i would say incredibly energized. and i think you've got some of what they said. i mean, kereshi in particular was almost emotional when he said you're on the run and we're going to beat you. and secretary clinton said there and again at this dinner tonight with the president, she said
they only want to destroy. we want to build. that said, of course, her aides are concerned that this message she came with, which is we want to broden our agenda beyond terrorism, fighting terrorism, could be overshadowed by this attack. i was talking to one of her top aides just before the dinner who said it's a danger but we're still going to pursue our agenda here because there's the short-run problem but then there's the long-range problem which is pakistan doesn't work for a lot of its citizens. and the foreign minister who was standing there chatting with us snad a way this attack helped to underscore that point. >> ifill: when you talk about the u.s. agenda in pakistan what, is secretary clinton's goal for this trip? why is she there? >> warner: well, gwen, she wants-- she wants and the administration wants to stiffen and strengthen the resolve of the pakistani government and pakistani military to keep thup really quite-new serious campaign against the militants.
and they concluded they can't do that without, a., broadening the relationship beyond terrorism-- abuse bauz that's what the pakistanis want-- and, b., addressing the very real anti-americanism, the distrust about america that exists here among the pakistani elites and the pakistani public. so she came here with a message that we do want to broadep the relationship. it won't be the transactional relationship of the old-- some military aide in return for supposedly fighting terrorism. we're going to help you rebuild your infrastructure. we're going to start student changes. this whole kind of broadening of the relationship, and at this same press conference with foreign minister kereshad hi she announce the the u.s. will put a substantial amount of money into helping pakistan rebuild or build its aging infrastructure. it's a country that has 70% rolling blackouts every summer. as i said, the question is
whether something like that will even get coverage tomorrow. we'll have to see. >> ifill: you talked to senator ker oat situation on the ground in the region when you were in washington earlier this week, and it seems almost as if the secretary's visit is a one-two punch in this effort to win thes hearts and minds back to the u.s. side. is that about right? >> warner: that is about right. and i don't think they're overstating the degree of the problem they have here. the pew global project did this poll worldwide just in may, and it found here in pakistan, now 70% of pakistanis do see the taliban as a real threat. they don't support the taliban any longer. but 64% still see the united states as a "enemy," and so there is this deep well of distrust that goes back to when we came in to build up the mujahideen and then we left and it's gone on and on.
>> ifill: today she met with the president and the minister. tomorrow involves what? >> warner: she also had this very contentious roundtable with pakistani tv journalists. one aide said it was like being in a room with bill o'reilly, keep olberman, glenn beck, and chris matthews and they're all shouting questions at you. she returned the argument. there's a question about the lugar aide bill, where there is a backlash about here. and she is really-- she really wants to engage with pakistani people. so she's trying to go beyond just the official meetings. now tomorrow she is going to lahor, and both tomorrow and the next day it's schedule is being kept quiet for security reasons-- she is going to have semipublic events, taking a little bit of a risk, but wanting to engage really through
pakistani media to the broader pakistani public. so that is-- that's her game plan. and as long as the security situation doesn't get too terrible i think she's going to stick with it sgln you mentioned the security situation, margaret. how much does a trip like this have to be planned with that in mind, especially when there are so many things going on, like what we saw this morning in the northern part of the country? >> warner: it was already taken into account in the planning of the trip. for instance, as you know, even though they announced they were coming to pakistan at some point the actual date and time was not publicly announced until after we'd landed. so, for instance, even though she talked to us on the plane and people could file from the refueling stop everything had to be kbaerged. there wasn't a convenient time for potential attackers. the press, we and her press corps had reservation at the sirina hotel here in islamabad,
sister to the one in kabul tried to attack today, and we were pulled out thereof and put in the sort of windowless-- i guess you'd call them stacked trailers inside the embassy grounds. so there have been very, very careful preparations dealing with security, and at the same time, i'm told she and richard holbrook, and her team pressed hard to do this public engagement and to not limit it to just islamabad, to get out in the country. so as i said, they're going to lahor tomorrow, which was the scene of a very deadly attack, a rekrauting or training academy. but she was reminiscing on the plane today about the first time she came here as first lady 15 years ago-- 14 years ago. it's certainly not that atmosphere now. she said she and her daughter chelsea walked among people, had all these kind of outdoor events and they were with benazir bhutto who, of course, was
assassinated two years ago. so she will engage with the pakistani public but not to the degree that she would have liked. >> ifill: a different role for her in a different time. margaret warner, thank you. >> warner: thanks, gwen. >> lehrer: in other news today, president obama signed an expansion of federal hate crimes law to include sexual orientation. gay and lesbian groups had tried for years to get the government to take that step. the expansion was attached to a defense policy bill worth $680 billion. wall street had a rough day, driven by new worries over the housing market. according to the commerce department, new home sales dropped unexpectedly last month, by more than 3.5%. in response, the dow jones industrial average lost 119 points to close above 9,762. the nasdaq fell 56 points to close at 2,059. congress has stepped up the pressure on pro football over head injuries and brain ailments later in life.
the issue was aired at a house hearing today. the commissioner of the national football league-- roger goodell --would not acknowledge a link between head injuries and brain disease. still, he said the league is doing more to protect players. >> let's start with fact we have made significant rule changes to our game. five rule changes alone this year that are improving safety and well being of players. they have had a positive impact in the short term they have been in place. we will continue to evaluate rule changes to make our game safer. >> lehrer: a former president of the tampa bay buccaneers-- dr. gay culverhouse-- testified players feel pressured to hide any symptoms and keep playing. >> i can tell you owners are a bunch of mavericks. it is difficult to mandate to them how to have their players play. because incentives, bonuses, are
the way you get players back in the game and you win. they don't mollycoddle. this is a business. the bottom line is making money. >> lehrer: committee chairman john conyers called it a life and death problem. he said he wants to see medical records on head injuries from the pro ranks down to high school. but the top republican on the panel-- lamar smith of texas-- said there's no way to legislate an end to football injuries. federal health officials promised action today to increase output of swine flu vaccine. they acknowledged supply has been slow to reach the public, even as cases of the flu surge. the secretary of health and human services-- kathleen sebelius-- said there were start-up glitches at vaccine plants. >> like a roll out of a new restaurant, it didn't go very well. those have been fixed and the growth rate is now much more robust as the companies change to other strains that were
growing at faster pace so both of those problems have been, those challenges have been met. >> lehrer: sebelius urged people to try again, if they already waited in line and failed to get a vaccination. there was word late today of an f.b.i. raid in detroit that turned deadly. officials said the leader of a radical sunni islamic group was shot and killed. they said he refused to surrender, and gunfire broke out. 11 members of the group were charged with illegal possession of weapons and stealing from interstate cargo shipments. nasa test-launched a new type of rocket today for the first time in nearly 30 years. the ares x-1 blasted off from cape canaveral and completed a brief flight. it carried no payload or passengers. the test was the first step in a possible back-to-the moon program.
>> lehrer: and still to come on the "newshour" tonight: regulating the biggest, and a pop musician ben folds. that follows an energy story. yesterday, president obama pledged more than $3 billion of stimulus money aimed at making the nation's power grid more efficient. this summer, "newshour" correspondent spencer michels reported on california's efforts to get renewable energy to where it's needed most. here's an encore look at his science unit story. >> reporter: this bubbling mud
>>... to show the latest effort by los angeles to capture that power. a new wind farm which his department has built in the mountain positive. it's its largest city-owned wind farm in the nation. to hook the energy from these 80 wind turbines into the grid and make it useful, l.a. had to build new transmission lines and upgrade existing ones at a cost of $16 million. it took more than five years to get approval and to build. >> with conventional fuel, we take the fuel to the power plant with renewal energy you have to go where the energy is located.
>> he's also looking elsewhere. he wants to use the power generate bide this bubbling mud field in southern california's imperial valley. the super hot water that becomes geothermal power is sometimes called "the holy grail of renewable energy." because unlike wind and solar, it is constant and not intermittent, not dependent on the weather. ernie higgins, the general manager of geothermal operations at cal energy, said this resource is just waiting to be tapped. >> it pratss twr hours a day, seven days a week. specifically, in the imperial valley we could produce easily probably 2500 megawatts. we're currently producing 342. so there's a big potential here. >> reporter: the problem is how to harness this rich subtrainian energy source, whose steam is turned into electricity in these power plants, but how to transport is from this remote location to los angeles, some
160 miles away. to do that, it has to be part of the grid, the infrastructure of 157,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines that operate across america, connecting thousands of power sources to substations and homes. but the transmission capacity is subpar and out of date, according to former imperial county supervisor andy horn. >> it starts right here above the horizon. you can see a big substation out there. >> reporter: he says no new transmission line has been built in the region in 30 years. >> this is the last big transmission line built in california. and so, with the infrastructure behind the curve in terms of being able to deliver those renewables to the population centers like san diego and los angeles and san francisco, we need these new transmission
lines to be built. >> reporter: it's a problem not just in california. while the demand for electricity has risen 25% nationally since 1990, construction of transmission lines has decreased about 30%. that's led to congestion on the lines and power outages. so why not build more power lines? first, it's expensive. but it's not just the money that has stalled the building of power lines. it's getting everyone to agree where the lines should be built. and nowhere is that more evident than in the debate about how to get the energy from this bubbling mud along the shores of the saltan sea near the mexican border up to major urban areas. the utility wants to build a transmission line called green path north. its towers could be 150 feet high.
>> this would be the corridor, continuing on into los angeles. >> reporter: april sole supports green energy but as director of the california desert coalition, she also wants to preserve the landscapes >> original routes proposed were in highly strirlly sensitive areas so you're destroying habitat. in this case it certainly is not so there are better places to do these projects and we need to look for the least impact. >> reporter: she said the lines were originally proposed to go through areas like this wildlife reserve north of palm springses. desert communities like this one all the way to saltan city. this is... there's a right way to do this, and there's a wrong way to do this. and we need to learn from mistakes of the past and, and go about this in a smarter and more intelligent way.
use new technology, use existing corridors, and get power to the source of need with the least distance so that we don't have transmission loss. >> reporter: sall would like the put powerlines along freeway routes, but that isn't always easy. she is not alone in her concerns. five years ago, austin puglisis and his wife bought a 55-acre parcel in a spectacular desert canyon, to build his dream house. he got the permits and drilled a well, and was ready to build. i don't see any house. >> well, everything came to a screeching halt. >> reporter: because? >> in april of 2006, a friend of mine talked to me about plans that she had just learned about, that the city of los angeles had been planning already for years to build high voltage transmission lines through this area and the original plan called for 200 foot tall towers. and i really didn't like the idea of living the rest of my life under their shadow.
>> reporter: nahai says l.a. power and water is trying to balance the environmental impact with the desire to reach california's other environmental his agency is now proposing seven different routes in hopes of finding the one that is the most efficient and has the least environmental impact. >> there are local interests who... who are concerned obviously about the aesthetic effects, the environmental effects-- for instance, one of the alignments for green path would... would pass through ten separate municipalities. each with their own concerns, each with their own needs. so it all... it becomes i think a very, very difficult prospect, but nevertheless one that has to >> reporter: dan kammen, professor of energy at the university of california at berkley and has been studying transmission lines and renewable energy, says the decision-making process has to go beyond the state of california. >> the real issue for
transmission is that it requires federal coordination and oversight. you can't do it state by state. you have to build out regional resources and so this is another place where the obama administrations role is going to be vital. it's not just the amount of money but its also coordinating what happens around the country. >> reporter: los angeles officials are seeing first hand that getting green power is taking longer than they thought. they just pushed back the start date of green path north by three years to after the year 2014. >> lehrer: since spencer's story first aired, david nahai resigned his job at the los angeles department of water and power. and the department is re-evaluating the green path project again. >> lehrer: next tonight, dealing with the financial industry's too big to fail problem. "newshour" congressional correspondent kwame holman
begins our coverage. >> reporter: since the financial crisis hit last september, the government has injected hundreds of billions of taxpayers' dollars into firms such as bank of america, citigroup, and a.i.g.-- all deemed "too big to fail." in the wake of the collapse of lehman brothers and the credit crisis that followed it, government officials repeatedly have said they had no other option. federal reserve chairman ben bernanke explained his thinking during a "newshour" forum this summer. >> the problem we have is that in a financial crisis if you let the big firms collapse in a disorderly way, they'll bring down the whole system. we really need-- and this is critically important-- we really need a new regulatory framework that will make sure that we do not have this problem in the future. >> reporter: yesterday, house financial services chairman barney frank brought forth new legislation designed to provide that framework. the bill-- which was drafted in conjunction with the treasury
department-- would give the federal reserve authority to take over firms that are at risk of failing and present a dangers to the broader economy. it would allow the government to dismantle a company without sending it through a standard bankruptcy. to pay for that process, banks and other firms with more than $10 billion in assets would contribute to a special fund. shareholders and creditors of institutions would take losses, and top management could be removed. the bill also would strengthen oversight-- creating a new regulatory council overseen by the treasury secretary-- to address risk and toughen regulations on large companies. late yesterday, president obama expressed strong support for the proposal in a letter to chairman frank, saying small changes were not enough to fix the system. >> lehrer: we get two views about the proposal and what it could mean. eugene ludwig is the former u.s. comptroller of the currency, which regulates and supervises
national banks. he's now the c.e.o. and founder of promontory financial group, a global consulting firm. dean baker is an economist and co-director of the center for economic and policy research in washington. he's the author of several books, including "plunder and blunder: the rise and fall of the bubble economy." dean baker, do you believe the frank proposal will solve the too big to fail problem? >> no, it's really hard to see how it does that. basically the too big to fail problem is the markets don't believe the government will actually let a firm like citigroup, goldman sachs, or these big banks go out of business so that means there's not effective discipline on their activities. the question is, if we had this in place, we do have this commitment, you know, the government-- representative frank saying we will let these banks go under but you're looking at firms that have gotten bigger. do the markets believe the government would let a citigroup or goldman sachs go under?
it's very hard to see that story. i expect you would still have people willing to lend with them with the expectation if they got into trouble the government will at least in part, bail them out. there won't be full market discipline. >> mr. ludwig? >> i think chairman frank has put together a strong proposal here. i think the refinement that can improve it markedly, but both chairman dodd has been focusing on this in the senator, and senator warren--. >> lehrer: chris dodd, chairman of a comparable committee. >> congress has been looking at these issues hard and i think we're going to get strong regulation. the proposals i think are headed in exactly the right direction. i think one can question elements of them and improve them, but i think he's made a strong step forward here. >> lehrer: dean baker, you don't even think it's a step forward is that correct right? you think the whole proposal is flawed or do you think there are parts of it that might work? >> well, i think there are aspects-- it's a big proposal.
it's 300 pages, so there are aspects-- for example trequires that issuers of mortgages maintain a stake in them even if they sell them on the secondary market. i think that's a good thing. in terms of the fundamental problem, you have banks that are too big to fail, the market sees them as too big to fail, does this deal with that? i find that hard to believe. the resolution process-- it is god have an orderly resolution process. the prob was we had a financial crise, and let's carry this through for a second and envision we had this in place. suppose you had a.i.g. go under, do we really think the fed, the treasury, would be tob to slap on a special assessment on citigroup and bank of america last september to cover the cost of resolving aig? that's a little hard to believe. ichk it still ends up in the taxpayer's pocket. >> lehrer: you think that proposal will not work? the guts of the proposal, mr. ludwig, as we just said, as
kwame just said, the $10 billion every company has $10 billion in assets has to contribute to helping these companies that are too big to fail and if they in fact fail instead using taxpayer money they have to contribute to this fund. you heard what mr. baker said. that's not going to work. >> nobody wants to use taxpayer money, that's for sure. i think the part of the proposal that needs a lot of focus and is movings things forward which is as important as the resolution mechanism itself--. >> lehrer: resolution means the company is about to fail, and somebody-- and the government steps in and does something. >> steps in and you might say helps it fail or takes it apart, or takes the management out, the board out, and then refloats the company. that's resolution. resolving the problem. but i think the issue here that's even more important is what do you do before a company gets in this state? and the frank proposal does--
has two aspects to it that i think are helpful but i think can you use some refinement. first, there's a systemic council to identify systemic problems. are we headed for a problem area--. >> lehrer: so you don't wake up some die and some big company has failed. >> right. >> lehrer: the federal reserve would already know this, right? it's a council with the fed as part of it. where i think refinement is helpful, government helps to cause these problems, unwittingly, of course, with policies that don't work. i would hope as this evolves, you see a separate, independent agency, a part of that systemic process that's independent and can identify governmental mistakes. secondly-- and this is very important it's companies that have been successful with their institutions have had an independent, end-to-end credential, so that the entities themselves don't get into problems.
we don't have that here. we have an alphabet soup of regulators. the frank proposal takes a step in that direction, or a half step. that's an area in which we have to take a full step, jim. we have to have in this country the kind of end-to-end, congressional supervisor that can really deal with these entities and keep them getting sick in the first place. >> lehrer: dean baker, do you agree the process this begin before they fail? >> would like to see them not get that big. thing ends up being a story of we want better regulators and of course we do but let's go back to '2, '03, '04 when the housing bubble was building up. suppose we had this in place. alan greenspan was saying everything is fine, there is no housing bubble. do you think if we had this council in place by then we would have gotten a different result? if the houses market was fine,
there was no systemic risk. there were no big problems. i think it's unrealistic. yes, we want better regulators but writing legislation that says we need better regulators mean we'll get better regulators. >> doon you focused on an area i agree with you. i think the federal reserve is a fabulous organization. the people in our regulatory bodies are tremendous. what we need here is somebody independent, that can identify these problems, like the g.a.o., in a way, does in other areas, before they happen. >> lehrer: the accounting office. >> look an accounting office-- that's the government accounting office. it's independent. and i think where the frank proposal takes a great step forward saying let's look at systemic risk. it's not the fed looking at itself. that shouldn't happen. >> lehrer: why would the fed be looking at itself? >> well fit were in charge of the council. the treasury is actually in charge of the council, but the fed san important element of it. and it's very hard for any organization, whether it's a governmental organization or any
organization to be self-reflective. so i think this would be improved if one had an independent agency in effect that was tasked with the simple responsibility of identifying bubbles, had somebody been doing that in the early 2000 era, they would have identified this. >> lehrer: would you add that to your proposal if you had one, dean baker? >> well,y i certainly ifs one of those people out there yelling about the housing bubble, that it was a big problem and largely ignored, unfortunately, i think. yes, it would be great to have someone identify bubbles. whether we can count on that-- i don't think it was hard to oyst housing bubble. i don't think it was hard to identify the stock bubble. it should be something that we're on the lookout for and, again, this is an enormous problem. i know alan greenspan maybe has a different view today but had the view a few years ago that bubbles weren't a big deal. you let them come, you let them go, and then you clean up
afterwards. i hope we all realize now that's not the case. they can really be a problem. we have to identify bubbles, whether it's the fed or an independent body. part of the problem is people make money on bubbles, as we know. if you say there's a bubble, and you have to stop this, it takes away the punch bowl and these are powerful fpbld institutions that don't want you to take away their punch bowls. >> lehrer: help us lay folk-- when you say "bubble," what's the simple definition of a bubble? >> essentially asset price increase that isn't justified by the fundamentals. so you go back to the 19 90s when the nasdaq hit 5,000. i think today it's less than half that. there was no justification for that. there was no story that underlying profitability of those companies would have justified those sort of prize prices. and in the current decade of housing, the unprecedented run up in house prices that couldn't be explained by the fundamental supply and demand in the housing market so the fed or another entity has to recognize that the prices have gotten out of line
with fundamentals and basically when that happens they do come back and usually not in a way that is very pretty. >> lehrer: you agree somebody should be look for bubbles. >> absolutely. i think that's a key element. and we ought to have an independent identifier of those bubbles and an independent regulatory agency that is focused on... supervision and is professionalized, much to a greater degree-- soactually act when the bubbles--. >> lehrer: you say the frank proposal is a step in that direction but not far enough. and you say, dean baker, it's not even a step that way. >> i say there are some small steps but it's really not what i'd like to see. i don't think it will get us where we need to go. >> lehrer: we need to go. thank you both very much. >> thank you, great to be on the show. >> thank you. >> lehrer: next tonight, combining a love of the environment with health care. special correspondent fred de sam lazaro reports from the island of borneo in south east asia. >> reporter: it's not easy to
run a clinic in this remote corner of borneo. patients come in with malaria, t.b. and diseases that should be treated much earlier. most people are extremely poor and health care is either unavailable or unaffordable but this clinic, open since 2007, has flexible payment policies. they don't take credit cards but they will take just about anything else. >> you can pay with baskets, woven mats, labor in our organic garden, seedlings for replanting. these are shells of rice, eggshells-- we use for these for compost. >> reporter: kidney patient musadin, agreed to pay partly with cash, partly with something, well, softer. >> people in our clinic can actually pay with manure. >> reporter: it's collected for an organic farm next to the
health in harmony or asri clinic started by dr. kinari webb. she says the idea is to treat not just patients but a larger rainforest ecosystem that's been under assault in borneo for decades >> it's not only about our physical health, which is incredibly important and the physical health of the planet, but it's about our soul health. these... these rain forests and this biodiversity is exquisitely beautiful. >> reporter: these are the carcasses of lumber mills that fed the asian economic boom in the '80s and '90s. they ran out of lumber, depleting swathes of one of the in its wake are oil palm plantations, producing cooking oil that's a lucrative export to markets across asia. nearby, with little employment, people struggle on tiny plots of land.
the forests-- first exploited by the colonial dutch and british-- have shrunk by more than a half across borneo-- the world's third largest island, now shared by indonesia, malaysia and the tiny sultanate of brunei. the gunung palong national forest in indonesia and these parks are the last refuge for orangutans, gibbons and millions of plant and animal species. and even though they're legally off limits to any commercial exploitation, these parks are not immune from illegal logging and conservationists who work here say the only way to stop it is to improve the lives of the desperately poor people who live here. kinari webb learned that when she came here in the early '90s. she came to study primates, but was moved by the extreme poverty and poor public health. >> i began to realize what it was like for people who live in... in tiny little villages in borneo with just basically no opportunity at all. and i came face to face with
what it's really like for the last bits of rain forest in the world, and i just began to think, "you know, i could go to medical school and i could come back and make a difference here." and yet i never could let go of that love of the environment. and over time, we found a way to really combine those two. >> reporter: she also couldn't let go of her love of a botanist she met here, named campbell webb. she finished medical school, they married and it was cam webb who first enabled the move back in 2007. harvard university hired him to conduct research in the forest with indonesian colleagues. >> we're able to be here in a large sense, because i have a job here that enables me to be here and kinari doesn't take an income. >> reporter: income for the clinic, where kinari webb and about 20 colleagues work, comes from a patchwork of cash and in kind donations from u.s.-based supporters and even school fundraisers. the architecture department and
students at georgia tech university. a hospital, to be built here next year, is being designed by >> tomorrow, we will be going to batambara to distribute glasses and mosquito nets. >> reporter: about 8,000 patients have been seen in the two years since this six-room facility opened. but the clinic also travels to villages surrounding the gunung palang park. there's usually weeks of advance notice, so people can grow seedlings. they use these to pay for care. the asri clinic works only in so-called green villages, communities that are certified by the park service as free of illegal logging. green villages also get a discount on clinic fees. >> they determine that both through ground patrols and with fly-overs of the national park in this tiny little micro light airplane, we're not trying to catch people, we're just simply
saying we're listening to the national park, and together with them we're going to try and offer you incentives if you're not doing illegal logging. >> reporter: at this event, people got vision tests and bed nets to keep out mosquitoes-and a lecture that linked deforestation with increased malaria. >> people were saying, "oh, yeah, we know there's many more mosquitoes in logged areas." so they know it, and they would love to prevent it. >> reporter: no one values the forest more than those who live around it, she says, even though poverty has driven many people to engage in illegal logging. deforestation brings disease, floods homes and affects rainfall for their crops. most are eager to join in conservation efforts. that means reporting illegal logs coming through their villages from the park. and it means switching from the slash and burn tradition:
clearing ever more forestland to plant crops. the land remains fertile for only a few years before it is abandoned. >> ( translated ): in first three years that you open land from forests and add chemicals, it's quite good, but every year after, production goes down and down. some of these fields are used 20 years or more so they are not productive. >> reporter: srikandi ase is thq head man in one of several villages where the asri program has introduced residents to organic farming-- using soil enriched by compost and manure. >> ( translated ): our old people-- our honored elders, they are ones who cut down the forests and they are seeing the bad effects on their grand children. that's why were so pleased with this training that we are learning to do something about it. >> reporter: over time better land management should ease pressure on the forest. cam webb says that can allow reforestation, even though it will never bring back the original rich biodiversity.
>> we'll definitely learn about what different species need, which ones are good to plant, what methods we... we can employ to control weeds and all these different things. >> reporter: and there's still virtue nonetheless in bringing back a forest even lacking that diversity. >> yeah, absolutely and for all the other reasons, for the economic reasons, for watershed management, for sources of timber, climate control, definitely a forest is better than no forest in, in these habitats. >> reporter: how do you know you're succeeding? what tells you that you've got something that's actually working? >> yeah, that's an excellent, excellent question. we cannot be a failure because we're very lucky to be able to be able to help so many patients. but in terms of conservation, how successful are we being? it's not going to happen immediately. we've already seen a 30% decrease in the number of villages which are doing illegal logging. but we'd like to see much more than that. but i believe that it will take time to do that. >> reporter: and she plans to take the time. aside from fund-raising trips to
the u.s., kinari and cam webb plan to spend their careers here. >> lehrer: you can join fred on his river boat ride, and hear his report about how poverty threatens borneo's natural resources. that's on our web site at newshour.pbs.org. >> lehrer: finally tonight, a piano rocker and his big band. jeffrey brown has our profile. >> reporter: ben folds, a 43- year-old piano playing pop star with a string of hits, usually performs solo or with a small group. >> how about my band tonight! ( applause ) >> reporter: but this recent night in washington d.c., his "band," as he called it, was the "national symphony orchestra." ♪
>> what was exciting about this to me was the idea that we would arrange my music in a way to where that made the orchestra the rock band. because the orchestra has grooved for hundreds of years, why does it have to sit there and go "eeehhh" for a while behind me? so they're really taking care of a lot of the percussive elements of the songs. >> reporter: folds himself began as a percussion player in youth orchestras in winston-salem, north carolina. eventually, he turned to the piano. although, you can still see the percussionist in the way he sometimes slams the keys. he first made his name with ben folds five in 1994. and had his first big hit, "brick," three years later. >> ♪ she's a brick and i'm drowning slowly ♪ off the coast and i'm heading nowhere ♪ she's a brick and i'm drowning slowly... ♪ >> reporter: folds went solo beginning in 2001 producing a
string of albums. most recently, he released a collection of his songs sung by university a cappella groups. >> ♪ everybody knows, it sucks to grow old ♪ but everybody does, so weird to be back here... ♪ >> reporter: folds' songs often feature down and out characters, like a newspaper reporter who gets laid off after 25 years. >> ♪ there was no party there were no songs ♪ cause today's just a day like the day that he started... ♪ >> reporter: others can be very funny, like the one about an out-of-town visitor who keeps hanging around. >> ♪ well, we thought he was gone but he's come back again ♪ last weekend was funny but the joke's wearing thin. ♪ one of my models would be j.d. salinger short stories, just in how quickly he gets in and out
of the character, how that character and peripheral characters in the story relate to other characters. ♪ and humor, that's a very serious tool. people laugh. they don't know why they laugh at a funeral, or they'll make a joke at a time that's either inappropriate, or trying to keep their composure in the middle of something that's actually really tough. ♪ so i find that much more effective for me. people call them novelty songs. but i find them much more effective for me to show the depth of what's going on, than just to say, "i'm so sad..." and here's my minor chord.
♪ >> reporter: as to playing with an orchestra, it turns out that for folds, it's actually a homecoming of sorts. he first conceives his songs-- in his head-- with a variety of arrangements, including orchestral. >> i structure the songs so that the voice leading and the potential arrangement inside the song can be carried by an orchestra-- or it can be carried by a choir, or you can busk it. the songs will be built so that they can stand up to a lot of different treatments. the rock band treatment was a bit of a twist when i started out as a piano player playing in sort of grunge era, playing punk clubs. because my band would beat the songs up. they would take otherwise pretty chords-- and a lot of these songs we're playing with the orchestras now were just played with a band crashing cymbals and distorted bass guitar. and so hearing them this way, in a funny kind of way, it's more coming back home for those songs.
>> reporter: ben folds's tour continues this fall and includes more performances with some of the nation's leading orchestras. ♪ >> lehrer: jeff's interview with ben folds continues on our web site: newshour.pbs.org. and an online only feature tonight: analysis and reaction to the hate crimes bill president obama signed today. >> lehrer: again, the major developments of the day: taliban attackers killed 11 people at a u.n. guest house in afghanistan. a car bombing in pakistan killed more than 100 people. u.s. secretary of state clinton promised solidarity with the pakistanis, as she arrived in the country. and wall street had a rough day,
after word that new home sales dropped last month. the dow jones industrial average fell nearly 120 points. >> lehrer: we'll see you on-line, and again here tomorrow evening. i'm jim lehrer. thank you and good night. major funding for the newshour with jim lehrer is provided by: strength and the experience of >> 150 years of financial strength and the experience of an established investment firm have come together. wachovia securities is now wells fargo advisors. the financial advisors nearby and nationwide. with the advice and planning expertise to help you address today's unique challenges, we're with you. wachovia securities is now wells fargo advisors. together, we'll go far. >> this is the engine that connects abundant grain from the american heartland to haran's best selling whole wheat, while keeping 60 billion pounds of
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